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ISLAMABAD: Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) grew 2.2 per cent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year on an annual basis, figures issued by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Thursday.

In September alone, LSM grew 1.9pc over the corresponding month of the last year.

With lower-than-expected LSM growth, the government is likely to revise downward the gross domestic product growth target for the current fiscal year.

LSM data provided by the Ministry of Industries and Production for 36 items showed growth of 1.04pc during the quarter under review.

Similarly, data provided by the provincial bureaus of statistics for 65 items showed growth of 1.28pc over the same period.

However, the output of the 11 items whose data is provided by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee fell 0.12pc in the three-month period.

Industry-specific data shows iron and steel products recorded the highest growth of 12.98pc, followed by electronics 12.27pc, non-metallic mineral products 9.24pc, pharmaceuticals 7.95pc, fertilisers 6.49pc, paper and board 6.12pc, automobiles 3.79pc, and rubber products 0.27pc.

Sectors that showed a decline during the period included wood products 97.83pc, leather products 19.11pc, engineering products 17.75pc, chemicals 3.60pc, petroleum products 3.42pc, food and beverages 0.89pc and textile 0.01pc.

The decline in global commodity prices benefited many industries, such as automobile, cement, chemical and construction activities. Similarly, improved availability of gas supplies facilitated fertiliser and cement sectors.

Partially, the LSM sector benefitted from a continued improvement in the supply of electricity and gas coupled with an expansion in credit to the private sector.

In the automobile sector, growth is mainly generated from truck production that increased 59.54pc. However, the production of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) dipped 33.02pc, tractors 1.08pc, and jeeps and cars 3.39pc.

The chemical sector’s decline arose from sulphuric acid that recorded negative growth of 10.79pc, paints and varnishes 5.22pc and caustic soda 20.54pc.

In the pharmaceutical groups, capsules, injections and liquids/syrups recorded growth of 14.38pc, 17.41pc and 10.09pc, respectively.

In non-metallic mineral products, cement managed to grow 9.5pc year-on-year during the first three months of 2016-17. A steep fall in global coal prices helped cement manufacturers. In addition, the cement industry also benefitted from vibrant construction activities and a reduction in the policy rate.

The production of coke and petroleum products fell mainly because of diesel oil 64.05pc, kerosene 40.66pc, jute batching oil 35.14pc, solvent naptha 18.83pc and petroleum product 15.46pc.

However, the production of LPG was up 12pc, lubricating oil 1.53pc, furnace oil 0.31pc and jet fuel oil 7.55pc.

In the food and beverages segment, the production of vegetable ghee witnessed a decline of 0.06pc. However, the production of cooking oil and tea blended went up 2.99pc and 12.68pc, respectively.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2016